msnbc | March 09, 2013
>>> house majority speaker john boehner , excuse me, speaker john boehner seems to be his party's sweetheart standing firm on fiscally conservative issues and playing hardball with the president. but my next guest bob ney has harsh anecdotes. he chronicles those and lots more in his new book. it's called "sideswiped" lessons lea learned. ney was involved in a lobbying scandal back in 2012 and went to prison. he joins me in the studio now. we remember your name from that scandal and also did about four years in prison for bribing politicians like yourself with expensive gifts. for folks who have not followed that story, take us back. what was your actual involvement with abramoff?
>> i drank free at his restaurant, wrote some letters for him, did a statement in the congressional record for a stream of value for free meals, for booze and all the influence of jack abramoff to raise campaign dollars.
>> after you pled guilty in 2006 , you said in a statement "i allowed myself to get too comfortable with the way things have been done in washington, d.c. for too long. with hindsight and prison behind you now, has washington changed at all in your eyes when it comes to money and politics?
>> i have a chapter in the book and it is called "is the barrel still corrupt?" they have made bribery part of the law.
>> how so?
>> i can take you, look, i went and ate at jack abramoff 's restaurant. let's say i ate $100 worth of sushi and $200 worth of alcohol and now today as a congressman or as a lobbyist and if you're a congressman, i can take you right now, throw a fund-raiser, $3,000 dinner here in new york city , as long as i raise you money while i'm doing it. i can take you hunting in alaska, i can take you to las vegas and as long as i do it in the aspects of a fund-raiser. the superpacs and source and rove left in the right, the money is flowing more than ever before.
>> a part of the book that has gotten a great deal of attention talking about how house speaker john boehner and his wife. you write in part, "he was considered a man that was all about winning and money. he was a chain smoking relentless wine drinker who was more interested in the high life , golf, women, cigarettes, fun and alcohol." what was the point of that part of the book?
>> well, there is a point to the book. you know --
>> the boehner stuff.
>> there is a point to that. house administration and i tell you 100 stories on 100 people. john boehner was an integral part of and part of the appointment by alice fisher to the attorney deputy position and he was part of it and he made a deal with me right out front and i will hold by it and i'm not the only one that knows about that deal. he made a deal and you step down and i get you a comparable job with the money you're making in congress and help raise money for your legal defense fund to in fact, "have this go away." that's a deal. it's a deal cut by money. look, if i didn't like john boehner , i could have got out of prissen and said, by the way, he was chain smoking .
>> you did say that.
>> no, when i got out. i was just going to stab him. this is a small part of an integral part of this book.
>> for our audience, take a listen.
>> this is disgraced congressman who went to jail who has made a lot of baseless and false accusations in order to try to sell a book. it's sad.
>> you also write that the speaker "has taken thousands in booze, food, golf games from lobbyists and slid around ethics ru rules." if they are true, how has he managed to people avoid things throughout their time. i avoided things. i was there 11 years. that happens. again, in the speaker's case, nothing i haven't said that's not known in d.c. and nuthing i haven't said that won't eventually be proved by outside sources who weren't felons and didn't lie. you lie before you go to prison, you're pretty honest when you come out.
>> are you bitter?
>> no, i'm not.
>> not a little?
>> not at all. in the time in 2007 , yeah, you bet i was. absolutely i was. but if i wanted to strike just back at him, i would have said something, done a press conference before he ran for speaker. i took a long time to develop this book, it's a small piece of it, but he is the third most powerful man in the world. i wish john boehner the best, but he needs to come to terms as a citizen of this country, i think, with some personal things because something happens, lord forbid, he has his finger on the black bag there and i think he needs to, you know, show the american people what he can do to clean the place up.
>> since you have gotten out, you mentioned to me that you spent a fair amount of time in india doing what?
>> well, losing that anger through meditation. i go to northern india . i spent some time up there. i had a friend, dr. acre, she ran a project with some students and i went there and i basically learned meditation. took some time, recharged my batteries. lost any anger that i had or resentments and was able to come back to america with a fresh start.
>> you know, especially in politics, folks always love a comeback story. any chance you get back into the game?
>> i have no intentions to run, but you never say never. that's a good political answer.
>> oh, buddy, it sounds like you're getting to run.
>> no, no.
>> former congressman bob ney . the book is called "sideswiped."